Murine nasal septa for respiratory epithelial air-liquid interface cultures

Marcelo B. Antunes, Bradford A. Woodworth, Geeta Bhargave, Guoxiang Xiong, Jorge L. Aguilar, Adam J. Ratner, James L. Kreindler, Ronald C. Rubenstein, Noam A. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Air-liquid interface models using murine tracheal respiratory epithelium have revolutionized the in vitro study of pulmonary diseases. This model is often impractical because of the small number of respiratory epithelial cells that can be isolated from the mouse trachea. We describe a simple technique to harvest the murine nasal septum and grow the epithelial cells in an air-liquid interface. The degree of dilation of mouse trachea, nasal septum, and their respective cultured epithelium at an air-liquid interface were compared by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Immunocytochemistry for type IV β-tubulin and zona occludens-1 (Zo-1) are performed to determine differentiation and confluence, respectively. To rule out contamination with olfactory epithelium (OE), immunocytochemistry for olfactory marker protein (OMP) was performed. Transepithelial resistance and potential measurements were determined using a modified vertical Ussing chamber. SEM reveals approximately 90% ciliated respiratory epithelium in the nasal septum as compared with 35% in the mouse trachea. The septal air-liquid interface culture demonstrates comparable ciliated respiratory epithelium to the nasal septum. Immunocytochemistry demonstrates an intact monolayer and diffuse differentiated ciliated epithelium. These cultures exhibit a transepithelial resistance and potential confirming a confluent monolayer with electrically active airway epithelium containing both a sodium-absorptive pathway and a chloride-secretory pathway. To increase the yield of respiratory epithelial cells harvested from mice, we have found the nasal septum is a superior source when compared with the trachea. The nasal septum increases the yield of respiratory epithelial cells up to 8-fold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-204
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2007


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